[UPDATE]: The three UCLA Bruins basketball players recently arrested in China — LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill — were seen boarding a flight at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Tuesday evening, according to The Wall Street Journal. While now slated to return home to the United States, such news came just hours after President Donald Trump apparently intervened.
President Donald Trump personally asked Chinese leader Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of LiAngelo Ball and two other UCLA players, who were caught shoplifting in China last week, according to David Nakamura of The Washington Post.
Ball, a freshman guard, and forwards Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, both of whom are also freshmen, were arrested after being accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store near the hotel in which they were staying. The UCLA men’s basketball team was in China for a week leading up to its regular-season opener against Georgia Tech last Friday. None of the three players flew home with the team and could remain in China for a week or two while the case gets resolved.
Xi promised Trump that the players would be treated fairly, and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has been in touch with the families of the players as well as Bruins head coach Steve Alford. In addition, Kelly has regularly been speaking with Chinese authorities.
Ball is notably the younger brother of current Los Angeles Lakers rookie and former UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, who was selected by the heralded Western Conference franchise with the second overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft back in June.
LiAngelo is one of three brothers, who have or will have played basketball at UCLA. Lonzo played one year with the Bruins before jumping to the professional level, LiAngelo is in his first year with the school and LaMelo, the youngest Ball brother, has already committed to play for UCLA once he graduates high school in 2019.